More than 2,000 users visit archive website in first 24 hours

Posted Wednesday, March 6, 2019 by Chris Leggett under News

Men axed when British Steel closed the Bilston works celebrate passing a welding test after retraining with Tony Rook, right, in Wolverhampton. Read more on this image here

Web users flocked to the new Express & Star photo archive website when the resource went live for free to the public.

In the first 24 hours, 2,300 users clocked up 30,300 page impressions as they trawled the new resource, admiring images from the region’s industrial past which had not been seen since they appeared on the pages of the region’s most popular local newspaper in years gone by.

Around 3,000 historic photos of the Black Country and its surrounding areas have been digitised for future generations and published on the website: https://photo-archive.expressandstar.co.uk/

The website went live to the public for the first time on Monday. The Express & Star Photographic Collection partnership, co-ordinated with the University of Wolverhampton and council-run City Archives, received a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to digitise photographs dating back over the past century.

After volunteers gave the equivalent of 260 working days, the launch realised the partnership’s ambition of making the photos available through a single web portal, allowing free on-line public access for the first time.

Impressed users published comments supporting the launch on the archive website.

Karen Davies wrote: “This is a fantastic achievement. At last, the wealth of photographic memories that the E & S holds can be shared. Keep up the good work.”

Fellow user Karen Moore said the launch was “great news”.

On Facebook, people posted a host of positive comments. Jenny Aston wrote: “Fantastic. I’ve been waiting for this site to come live. Well done everyone involved.”

Tracey Davenport added: “Wow, well done.” There was also support from Sue Evans who wrote: “Well done Express & Star and all volunteers.”

Former Wolverhampton city archivist David Bishop said: “Excellent news. I remember beginning discussions on the idea 10 or so years ago. Glad to hear it has become a reality.”

Jon Hague said the site was “top work” adding: “Fantastic to see so many great pictures from the Black Country.”

Tracey Astley added: “Shall look forward to a nosey round our history! Love stuff like this.”

Jen Biddle wrote: “Fantastic and well done to all involved.” David Evans said the publication of the historic photos was “excellent in every sense”.

The photo archive was the hot topic when the project was featured on BBC WM’s breakfast show.

Marketing and communications director Chris Leggett, who was part of the development, joined hosts Sam Meah and Daz Hale on Monday to discuss the historic photographs being shared with the public for free.

Daz, who grew up in Norton Canes, told listeners: “These photos are just going to evoke so many memories for local people and their loved ones. It’s so important that the Express & Star have kept these and they are going to be put online for everyone.”

On Twitter, the University of Wolverhampton official account @wlv_uni said staff from the faculty of arts had benefitted from “being involved in such a significant project”.

Wolverhampton City Council’s official Twitter account said: “Great to see this fantastic project that the council’s City Archives were heavily involved in with the Express & Star, University of Wolverhampton and Friends of the Archives, come to fruition. Amazing images.”

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